Before setting out to write your résumé, you must have a good understanding of your job search goal. This requires that you know who you are and what job you are going for. Your first challenge is to create an accurate picture of your self and your goal. Then, you must identify what type of job you are interested in pursuing and what skills this role requires.

Uncover your Qualifications

To create an accurate picture of yourself, you need to gain a solid understanding of what you bring to the table. You should know your background, areas of expertise, exclusive value, and style. By taking stock, you will learn just how valuable you are to your market.

Before you ever start writing your résumé, it is critical that you identify and uncover all areas of your background. Not only must you delve into your education, career history, and life experience, but you must identify the accomplishments that you have accumulated over the years. By bringing all your background to the forefront, you will be able to select and include the very best items for your résumé.

To know your areas of expertise, you must have insight into your specialty - the specific subject areas where you are the expert. You must also have a realistic perception of your level, or position, within an organization's hierarchy. Finally, you need to have a keen awareness of your stature, or prominence, in the industry. For example, if you hold a highly viable political role within the Government of Canada, you would design a very different document than if you hold a supporting role. You may choose to focus on highlighting your highly public achievements rather than administrative work you have done. Conversely, if you are a strong administrative, you may choose to bring ou and list different aspects of your technical expertise.

To really know yourself, you must dig deep and discover your exclusive value. This is the unique offering that you provide to your prospective employer. Look outside the job posting and find the additional benefit that you bring to the employer. For example, you may be a customer service representative based in Ontario and the employer is looking for specific skills, which you have. In addition to this, you may offer the added value of being bilingual in English and French. This feature allows you to do much more than the average English-speaking customer service representative because you can service clients throughout Canada in the primary language of their province.

Finally, to reflect your true self accurately and effectively, you must know your style. Identify the distinctive aspects of your personality that enable you to succeed. Focus on showing the individuality that you bring, which enables you to make your role much more than just a job description. for example, you may be a very aggressive salesperson that does what it takes to get the client and quickly close the deal. You would describe yourself very differently from a sales professional that specializes in developing long-term relationships. You must understand yourself to be able to express your style accurately to recruiters. Knowing your style will also help you to find a position that will be the right fit for you.

Understanding your Target

To be effective, your résumé must not only reflect your very best qualifications, but it must also meet and exceed your prospective employer's needs. The best way to do this is to understand exactly what kind of job you are targeting so that you can focus on presenting the skills that are required

Focus yourself in positions where you are a good fit and you can succeed. By narrowing your job search target, you will better match yourself to appropriate roles. Your goal is to enable the employer to see you as the ideal candidate for the job. Learn what you can about the industry or career field on which you are focusing. Investigate your prospective employer and understand the requirements of the job you are targeting. In your résumé, document exactly what the recruiter is looking for. Include your background, areas of expertise, style, and exclusive value that satisfy the needs of the employer, and leave off the rest.

Qualifications and Target Checklist

Complete the following checklist to determine if you clearly understand yourself and your focus. If there are areas that you feel are missing, continue your reading. Once you are sure that you have learned as much as you can, you will be able to take advantage to develop your unique Value Proposition and a focused résumé that will win your interviews.

  • I know my area of expertise (specialty, level, stature)
  • I know my background (education, experience, accomplishments)
  • I know my style (personality, individuality)
  • I know my exclusive value (unique offerings)
  • I know my target industry (career field)
  • I know my target employer (company, products, services, culture, interviewer, supervisor)
  • I know my target job (responsibilities, requirements, objectives)
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